Parsley is a plant of Mediterranean origin; in Italy it is easily found as a spontaneous plant in places with a mild climate, in areas that are not cultivated, and are very sunny. If the foliage is consumed, picked fresh, or even dried, the taste of the dry leaves, however, tends to lose much of the aroma due to the essential oils contained in the plant, which, being very volatile, tend to disperse with drying.
It is usually grown as an annual plant, although usually small shrubs can withstand short frosts of slight entity; the foliage of the plants of some years tends to become coriaceous, therefore it is preferred to re-seed the plant every year, to obtain more tender and delicate leaves.
Parsley - Petroselinum sativum: How to eat parsley
This plant is consumed directly using the raw, roughly chopped leaves. Sauces can also be produced, shredding a large quantity of leaves into a mortar, mixed with garlic and oil, for a very intense and pleasant aroma, to be used with grilled or boiled meats.
In ancient times parsley was used as an abortifacient, since it contains an alkaloid that causes muscle contractions; in fact, to cause this type of symptoms it is necessary to consume a very large quantity of parsley leaves.